Episode 386 - Are We Eloping
In this episode of Awesome Etiquette
Welcome to Awesome Etiquette, where we explore modern etiquette through the lens of consideration, respect and honesty. On today’s show we take your questions on responding to religious comments respectfully, whether or not it’s okay to serve a plant based menu at your wedding, a question about a brother’s problematic body odor and habits, and marriage without a traditional engagement. For Awesome Etiquette sustaining members our question is about choosing to take one friend’s offer over another. Plus your most excellent feedback, etiquette salute and a postscript reading from the Laura Claridge Emily biography on debutante balls, 1920's style.
Speaker 1: maybe it's just that you don't know how to use social courtesy. That's old fashioned
Speaker 1: act as host and hostess. They know that courtesy means showing respect, thinking of the other person real friendliness.
Speaker 1: Mm hmm.
Speaker 2: Hello and welcome to awesome etiquette
Speaker 1: where we explore modern etiquette through the lens of consideration, respect and honesty.
Speaker 2: On today's show we take your questions on responding to religious comments respectfully whether or not it's okay to serve a plant based menu at your wedding.
Speaker 2: A question about a brother's problematic body odor and habits
Speaker 2: and a marriage without a traditional engagement
Speaker 1: for awesome etiquette sustaining members. Our question of the week is about choosing to take one friends offer over another
Speaker 2: plus your most excellent feedback etiquette salute and a post script where we dive into Emily Post's life as a debutante on the social scene.
Speaker 1: All that's coming up
Speaker 2: awesome etiquette comes to you from the studios of our home offices in Vermont and is proud to be produced by the Emily Post Institute. I'm lizzie post
Speaker 1: and I'm dan post Senning
Speaker 2: and dan post sending. You are living through an experience and I'm, I'm tossing this right at you and throwing you into the deep end this morning. You're living through an experience that my sister is also living through right now and a lot of parents out there are living through right now and that is
Speaker 2: school closures or disruption to regular childcare.
Speaker 2: Either activities or or literally childcare. Um I think of myself as the activity in my niece and nephews life, but her, you know her regular baby or their regular babysitters and their their regular daycare,
Speaker 2: you know, we we just, we are we're seeing a lot of the omicron case surges cause disruptions in daycare.
Speaker 2: How are you and other parents finding ways to stay present? Stay sane, stay like forward thinking during this time.
Speaker 2: I know it's like on the plus side, a lot of people love spending more time with their kids and then there's also the reality of that plus side, which is that
Speaker 2: it's a lot harder to get work done if you're working from home. It's a lot of time with a lot of attention required and how how are you balancing that? Like where are you finding etiquette skills in this?
Speaker 1: It's such a good question and I really have no idea. I sometimes think about the, the way we celebrated within our family at home and I think some of it even leaked onto this podcast the moment when we got the girls
Speaker 1: back in school and daycare and we return to a regular work week schedule at Emily Post and
Speaker 1: to have that rug pulled out from under us to be right back into a place that
Speaker 1: it feels very familiar, but does feel like something that I had thought of as being behind us, Like not the place you want to be
Speaker 2: coming back to,
Speaker 1: its both familiar and in many ways very manageable. We have two years of practice doing it and it's hard not to let the disappointment
Speaker 1: and the the that that sense of confusion where my first response is, I don't even know creep back in because we don't know and it's it's it's not easy. The etiquette is helpful though. I'm having baseline standards having things that you can turn to. Um probably the most difficult thing that happened is that initially got a birthday coming for those of you that have been listening to this show for the
Speaker 1: five years that she's been alive. You remember from our announcements and from my paternity leave five years ago that was born in january and the reality is it's going to be very hard to have a birthday party for her and she's just at that age where she would love, she's been to enough birthday party that her friends had, that to have a real birthday party would be awesome and
Speaker 1: that not being possible, were
Speaker 1: trying to get her together with her best friend in the whole wide world, her cousin who she just loves and who loves her and watching the two of them together is one of the great joys of my life. And
Speaker 1: this particular cousin has some newborn siblings and it's hard for that family to travel. So we're in this situation of wanting to have a birthday party with a child who's a bit of a distance away
Speaker 1: and it's not their birthday, it's our child's birthday. So we have to figure out how to get them to either come here or invite us and thank
Speaker 2: goodness this is like a sibling. And so you end up with like that
Speaker 2: you're so close, you can kind
Speaker 1: of ask these things of each other, you know, I think we're gonna be able to pull it off. But there are some basic etiquette here as it's totally the case if you know the rules, it's easier to break them, you can break them well.
Speaker 1: And I had a discussion with an issue about that while we were driving down to hockey practice the other day. We were talking about her birthday and what it's going to be and what it's not gonna be in keeping the excitement where we can be excited and in the process of doing that. I also had to dial the excitement back a little bit and just that there was more of an explanation that there was gonna be this little bit of a process that I was trying to figure out from her what she wanted to do, but then we had to execute it. That was going to take a little bit
Speaker 2: coordinate
Speaker 1: negotiating. And she totally got it. So that I guess the long answer is that you lean into the etiquette to deal with the unexpected as it comes up and you do the best you can.
Speaker 2: Yeah, I think it it has been a really tough time for a lot of parents and I've at least noticed this year compared to last year,
Speaker 2: most of the parents, I know, in fact, I'd say all the parents I know are just handling it. I don't want to say so much better, but maybe more smoothly or with more acceptance than resistance
Speaker 2: or, or something, but like I, I noticed, you know, my sister is just rolling with the punches on this one so well
Speaker 2: and it like encourages me to want to make offers to do what I can like last night I took the kids on a little walk and usually on cisa that's what they call me, can get, can get them to do a full hour. And mom and dad are both like super relieved they've gotten some time that they really needed.
Speaker 2: Unfortunately, we took a spill on this particular walk last night and so it only ended up being like 20 minutes.
Speaker 2: but I'm so impressed by how much I'm seeing my sister and her husband just continually show gratitude for anybody who can come and and do something with the kids outside for a little bit and also just keep
Speaker 2: positively looking for those moments where we might be able to do something, you know, like even if I'm busy and my sister reaches out the outreach, it still has such an air of positivity about it and like, hey, do you want to go do this thing with the kids
Speaker 2: as opposed to like, oh my gosh, I need a break, get over here, which I feel like is the difference between last year and this year, you know?
Speaker 2: But it's amazing how that either attitude shift that is able to happen and I don't begrudge anybody for it, not being able to happen last year. I think last year was really tough, but being able to like really hear that attitude shift and as well as like those magic words creeping into everything,
Speaker 2: it really, I've just, I have noticed how much it makes me want to help them like, and it's not like I'm saying good behavior and good etiquette is a way to bribe people to get a better reaction, like, you know, for you or something,
Speaker 2: but not far off because
Speaker 1: not far off really nice accrue the
Speaker 2: benefits accrue like that. They kind of do act like a carrot being dangled and I was, I don't know, I've been impressed by it.
Speaker 2: I know that you guys have been up against a lot and I want to just encourage you to keep it up and keep keep that good etiquette space you seem to be in because I feel like it's serving both you and, and
Speaker 1: like the people around
Speaker 2: you so well,
Speaker 1: lizzie post. I really appreciate the acknowledgement and your understanding, you've also been part of this shift and also thank you for the encouragement. We will, we'll keep a smile on our faces up here and we'll keep going
Speaker 1: and speaking of keeping going,
Speaker 2: oh, it's probably
Speaker 1: time to get to our show, isn't it? We have some questions to get to. Let's do it, let's do it,
Speaker 1: awesome etiquette is here to answer your questions, you can email them to awesome etiquette. Emily Post dot com. Leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 kind, That's 8028585463. You can also reach us on social media on twitter. We are at Emily Post install on instagram. We are at Emily Post Institute and on facebook, we are awesome etiquette.
Speaker 1: Just remember use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your post so that we know you want your question on the show.
Speaker 2: Our first question is a biggie. It's titled religion and respect and I have to just start this question before we even read it by saying, I almost wish we could do a whole show on this because I feel like there's so much in here.
Speaker 2: The question begins, Dear Lizzy dan and Team. I've been listening to the awesome etiquette podcast for a few years and have not caught up with all episodes. So, if my question has already been addressed, please feel free to point me in the right direction. I love learning, growing and being inspired while with
Speaker 2: I love learning growing and being inspired while listening to your fun podcast?
Speaker 2: I feel my question is sensitive, but ultimately it's this,
Speaker 2: how does one respond in an honest yet respectful manner to religious comments made to you that are not in alignment with your own beliefs.
Speaker 2: I find that when people don't know what to say to you in a difficult situation, they offer platitudes based on their religious beliefs without knowing or consideration for your own spirituality.
Speaker 2: I've experienced this with a couple of significant life events, the last one being my cancer diagnosis, I am grateful to be healthy. Now,
Speaker 2: during that time I learned that when someone said they would pray for me, it helped me to reframe it in my mind as the person is asking any higher power to support my healing.
Speaker 2: But when a person references a specific deity,
Speaker 2: their lack of consideration or perhaps lack of knowledge for the differences in our belief systems leaves me struggling with how to respond authentically.
Speaker 2: I'm thinking about this in the context of being with an aging parent, knowing that one day I will be the person receiving religious based sympathies.
Speaker 2: The complexity compounded by the fact that my mom belongs to a church and wants a church funeral, I will of course, honor and respect her wishes with the formal religious event
Speaker 2: within that, I don't want to cringe or worse mouth off if I'm approached with something such as she's in a better place or she's with God. Now
Speaker 2: does etiquette say that when you are on the receiving end of well intentioned comments that you simply say thank you or is it ever appropriate to respond with your own beliefs in a respectful manner
Speaker 2: in asking these questions, I'm trying to set myself up for etiquette success down the road when I know I will be too emotional to navigate with clarity.
Speaker 2: Thank you for all the work you do spiritual but not religious,
Speaker 1: spiritual, but not religious, Thank you so much for the question and you are certainly not alone. You are part of a larger and larger group of americans who are identifying as not
Speaker 1: belonging to a particular religious group or having a particular religious affiliation, even if you identify yourself as someone whose spiritual has a deep spiritual life and understanding.
Speaker 1: So this is a question that has a lot of relevance for a lot of people. It's also true that for many people, their religious experience is a cornerstone one in their lives and that
Speaker 1: it's something that is so personal and so deeply felt that
Speaker 1: it is an essential and core component of who they are and how they express themselves and
Speaker 1: the reality is that we live in a secular society that has room for all different kinds of people with all different kinds of spiritual beliefs and it does require things from us. And there is some really good etiquette for helping to navigate that well. So
Speaker 1: that's the tricky ground we're operating on and it's also the really good news
Speaker 2: because I really appreciate this conversation. I went to religious schools as a, as a kid and then once I was in college that was when I had less like structured religion in my life
Speaker 2: and when I'm first met with things from any religious perspective, one of the hurdles I feel like I've had to overcome and I feel like I've tried using consideration and respect and honesty to do it is to be aware within myself that
Speaker 2: this might not be the words that I want
Speaker 2: to be hearing, but that these are wishes for me, like someone, someone has a good intention here and that that good intention is from their perspective and for them it's connected to a religion or that that's a place to turn to, to encourage
Speaker 2: a person during difficult times. And
Speaker 2: for me, rather than saying like I don't like that, I don't want that in my life. It's, it's not a part of what I believe.
Speaker 2: I try instead to kind of strip away the nuance of it and focus on the general idea of that good intention and that Well wish and often I do end up in that place. That spiritual but not religious talks about where you just politely say thank you and you don't worry so much about the fact that it doesn't fit my religious beliefs or my connection and spirituality in life,
Speaker 2: but except the person as they are coming to me. I think that gets different when it becomes offensive. But I'm curious, you've mentioned on the show that you you belong to a church and that you enjoy going to services and that they fill you up. And what would you say? Kind of being someone who operates from that place about how you approach moments of encouraging people who are in a tough spot or going through hard times.
Speaker 1: I guess for me personally, before I lean into religion as something that I'm going to talk about with someone. I'm looking to them for cues as to how it would be received or what kind of common ground we might or might not share in regards to a particular faith, tradition or spirituality in general.
Speaker 1: And this is one of those places where I think that the
Speaker 1: fundamental rules of etiquette are really useful. The same rules that haven't changed for 100 years that guide
Speaker 1: polite conversation. That's conversation in public spaces, conversations with people that we
Speaker 1: have varying degrees of connection to.
Speaker 1: And
Speaker 1: for many, many people, it's a, it's an old trope of etiquette that you don't talk about religion, politics or your love life in polite company. These are potentially controversial conversations for all of the reasons that we have acknowledged and basic good etiquette the same rules that we talked about in a business seminar or about navigating
Speaker 1: the family dinner table applied to these types of interactions around hard times are difficult times and
Speaker 1: the idea is that to have a good conversation about these things, you have to pay a certain price of admission and that price of admission is that you treat the topic with a little more care that you
Speaker 1: pay extra attention to how what you're saying is being received by someone, so that it's not just about your comfort with the topic, but being willing to really listen and try to decipher what someone else's comfort level is
Speaker 1: having some awareness that because we operate from very different places when it comes to those controversial topics, that it's oftentimes a good idea to test the water to ask permission to have the conversation, or even if you don't ask permission to have it, to suggest it, to introduce the topic without taking a
Speaker 1: a really strident or extreme stance too quickly.
Speaker 1: And those things are all going to be really helpful. They show some awareness of the other person, they can help someone else who's navigating that process of saying to themselves.
Speaker 1: I'm not so comfortable with this conversation or I'm finding this really affirming and helpful or interesting and useful to give you those clues and to have what develops out of that makes sense for both of you. So I think that the very traditional etiquette rules apply
Speaker 1: and I heard you applying what I think of as the most traditional etiquette rule here, which is that you're always accountable for how you respond to people, whatever they're saying to you. And that
Speaker 1: part of that accountability is not assuming bad intentions of anyone
Speaker 1: and that can be tricky. But I hear it in the way this question is asked that
Speaker 1: there's some awareness that you don't exactly understand what perspective someone else is coming from. You don't know whether it's something that's deeply felt or a platitude. You don't know if
Speaker 1: it's someone using language to describe the great mystery in all of our lives in a particular way,
Speaker 1: because that's the only language they have or because that they really want to encourage you to use that language and and not knowing it's always safest when we're talking about etiquette to
Speaker 1: proceed as if someone's best intentions were what we're guiding them because it leaves you with the high road and
Speaker 1: those can be really difficult tasks, but
Speaker 1: they can also be very simple if they're hard lines for you. And those hard lines can be really useful, particularly when you're navigating an emotional time, a difficult time. And
Speaker 1: that time is the other thing I would key on in terms of an etiquette answer here that I don't think that you have to always accept everything that anybody says to you. But I do think that if you want to have a good conversation, some with someone about religion and that's about something that they're dead
Speaker 1: doing in regards to religion, that's not about you
Speaker 1: modifying your own behaviors or the ways that you respond and managing those reactions, but where you're gonna be asking something of someone else maybe to not use language that is very important to them around you. That's a conversation that I would want to have in its own world with its own frame around it.
Speaker 1: I
Speaker 2: think that's really
Speaker 1: smart dan. I appreciate hearing that because this is a difficult and big question and I want us to be able to talk about difficult, big and important issues
Speaker 1: and I think part of doing that well is hopefully being able to do it when we're not emotional, when someone's not feeling like they're being corrected in the moment when maybe they've taken a risk. We here on this show all the time about how difficult it is for people to offer sympathies and condolences and to reach out
Speaker 1: and if that reaching out is met with, oh, you didn't quite do it right. I think
Speaker 2: that that
Speaker 1: doesn't set you up well for for for the kinds of outcomes that I think are spiritual but not religious question. Nascar is looking for
Speaker 2: dan. I really appreciate hearing that comment because I was thinking about how
Speaker 2: I would be far more likely to exercise those quote unquote polite, thank you's or just letting something slide
Speaker 2: in those moments where I am, for instance, where, where I am at, you know, a relative's funeral or where news of a personal diagnosis has just sort of reached my community and where you might have people popping up and saying, oh my gosh, I heard and I just wanted to let you know,
Speaker 2: things like that. I'd be more more attempted to suggest using that polite thank you or just that polite accepting of the moment, understanding the well wishes and moving on. But I love the idea of really taking the time when it's someone you're closer to, that you'll have a lot more interactions with
Speaker 2: if those kinds of comments are becoming uncomfortable or even if they start to cross into the territory of offensive or problematic, that sitting down and having a conversation is really worth it on the, on the particular topic. But for those in passing moments,
Speaker 2: um, I love the fact that you put it as like polite conversation in public
Speaker 2: and I think that's a really good way to think about it. That those are the times to engage that, that generosity of spirit and to lean into that rather than the specifics are rejecting a specific form of wording
Speaker 1: lizzie post. Can I do something a little bit
Speaker 1: ghost at the end of this question?
Speaker 2: Absolutely. And like I said, this is a long question. I know we've talked for a while about it, but
Speaker 2: we really could go on for a while. What do you have as sort of a wrapping up thought or a ghost? Ghost thought. I
Speaker 1: guess I'd like to plug our book for just a minute here and the section that's jumping to my mind. Is that um, taking off our hat of giving advice for spiritual but not religious. If we were to give advice to the other party in this encounter,
Speaker 1: we have sample scripts in our book that are things people often say during hard times that are often read as offensive. And some of these
Speaker 1: sample scripts in this question are from are examples of things that we recommend you don't say because they can be heard in
Speaker 1: different ways by different people and there are ways to say the same thing that are less likely to be interpreted badly. So I really want to encourage people, take a look at things to say and things not to say around hard times in the Emily post etiquette book because there are ways to communicate these thoughts but with language that that is is more likely to be heard and have the impact that you would want it to have. And it's a very common etiquette mistake and that can also help I think
Speaker 1: navigate the moment where you say to yourself, you know, I'm not the only one and this won't be the last time either
Speaker 2: dan. I think that's a really, really, really good point. Spiritual but not religious. Thank you for a truly excellent question.
Speaker 1: We really hope that our answer helps you navigate hard times in the future.
Speaker 1: Our next question this week is about plant based food,
Speaker 1: is it appropriate to only serve a plant based meal at a wedding reception.
Speaker 2: That's it. That's the question right? There's nothing else to it is 11 easy question I have. I have one easy answer cause and then a slightly deeper dive. But this one I think we'll make, we'll make quite quick work of and that is that yes, it is absolutely fine. Do you have a plant based meal at a wedding reception?
Speaker 2: It is fine to have only plant based meals at a wedding reception?
Speaker 2: This has been true for a very long time for hosts who are either vegetarian or vegan. And it still remains true today.
Speaker 2: I think that one of the places because where you might start
Speaker 2: fretting about a host guest dance, uh no matter your position on eating animal products or not,
Speaker 2: is in the idea that if a host needs to be responsible for their guests enjoyment, would choosing a meal or a menu that doesn't provide for some of that enjoyment on their part
Speaker 2: be a mistake of some sort. And I don't think so because I believe that plant based food can be incredibly satisfying and delicious. It can be incredibly high end or it can be more like comfort food that you sometimes see served at weddings.
Speaker 2: So I don't think that choosing a plant based menu for your wedding somehow creates
Speaker 2: a real concern of lack for your guests that you would want to be addressing. It's, it's not the same as like
Speaker 2: not having a proper restroom for people to use at the wedding reception or something like that. You know, it's like people can get by on a vegetarian meal. They really can.
Speaker 2: Some people might not be used to getting by on a vegetarian meal or even may be surprised at how satisfying they can be. And yes, there are some folks who just don't care for vegetables that much and so this might not be their favorite meal or what they would choose to serve at their weddings,
Speaker 2: but it is absolutely an okay thing to do. From an etiquette perspective,
Speaker 2: I can keep going because I mean, there's the whole idea that if serving meat isn't a problem to you, then maybe you would consider serving some meat at your wedding even though your own dinner might be vegetarian. But I, I can, I can also stop,
Speaker 1: no, I'm enjoying, I'm enjoying hearing you answer. And it's taking me back to my own wedding
Speaker 1: and the planning that went into it and the food I got to enjoy at it. My,
Speaker 1: my wife's family eats a primarily vegetarian diet. And it comes from a cuisine that is largely vegetarian or at least in, in my mother in law's experience is largely vegetarian and
Speaker 1: it's been such a delight, such a treat for my father who adopted a vegetarian diet in his fifties, to meet my in laws on to meet pooches family because there's this whole cuisine that's based on vegetarian cooking that he had had very little exposure to before. So for him,
Speaker 1: our wedding, which was primarily vegetarian food was just awesome and an opportunity to try all kinds of things that
Speaker 1: um are kind of specialty foods or, and as you say, sometimes they're the high end specialty food because it's a wedding at the low end because you get the street food stations that are just so yummy. So exploring vegetarian cuisine or plant based cuisine and food I think can be a lot of fun. It can be exciting for some people.
Speaker 1: Um but we also very much kept in mind the fact that for at least half of the wedding party and
Speaker 1: probably a little more um eat a diet that included meat was very common expected maybe comforting and the
Speaker 2: peter post I'm thinking of, my dad is probably one of those guests you were thinking of at that point, he just wants to have that piece of meat on the plate
Speaker 1: and maybe the groom tried a particular lamb, like it wasn't a kebab, but it was like these lamb like, popsicles that were just so good.
Speaker 2: Just maybe maybe that had happened in
Speaker 1: your particular, that he was like, it would be awesome if we could have a lot of those there to, that that happened and I made the classic mistake everyone makes at their wedding. I had so much fun that I forgot to eat.
Speaker 1: And the only thing I remember to eat that day was when jesse Revo big shout out to my friend jesse brought me a plate with a bunch of those lamb kebabs or those lamb lollipops because they weren't kebabs and they were so delicious. And that was what I remember of my food from the wedding. Um
Speaker 1: it was the one meat dish that was available that day and
Speaker 1: that really worked for me. So I I appreciate the thinking that's going on here. I appreciate your thinking about providing for someone's comfort. But I also like you get excited about the prospects and the possibilities that come from all kinds of different cuisines. And there aren't any specific rules about what you do for food at your wedding. As far as etiquette goes
Speaker 2: anonymous, we hope that this helps you as you are either planning a menu for your own or maybe someone close to use wedding or you are anticipating attending a wedding where this might be the menu. We certainly
Speaker 1: hope that there are hundreds of wonderful vegetables.
Speaker 1: The important thing is that all kinds of vegetables are good for you.
Speaker 1: Whether they're raw cooked,
Speaker 1: they're important for good health,
Speaker 1: lots of energy and pep,
Speaker 1: clear skin and bright eyes
Speaker 1: for shining, gleaming hair
Speaker 1: and above all for that wonderful sense of feeling good.
Speaker 2: Our next question is titled, Oh no b oh dear, awesome etiquette team. I really need your help and hope you will address my specific case on the show.
Speaker 2: I recently traveled with my older brother and my spouse ending the trip with spending christmas with my in laws.
Speaker 2: My brother has had what I would call a quote unquote hygiene issue since he was a teenager. My mother did all she could to help him, but he just doesn't seem to care that he often has B. O. And that his clothes are clearly dirty, torn and smell bad
Speaker 2: Growing up. I complained about this a lot even through my 20s and was just told there was not much my parents could do about it because he was an adult and didn't live at home
Speaker 2: on this trip. There were many times we're being stuck in a car with him. I wanted to kick him out of the car and tell him to come back when he has cleaned himself and by the time we made it to christmas I was feeling embarrassed.
Speaker 2: It was not just the smell but wearing the same t shirt for five days in a row, burping audibly around my in laws at the table, even passing gas in a car,
Speaker 2: laying on my sister in law's couch and snoring loudly, so much behavior that humiliated me, my husband noticed all of it and was rather annoyed himself as well.
Speaker 2: I feel like I need to say something to him but I don't know how or if I really could because one, he never takes criticism. Well no matter how well put he storms off and says everyone is attacking him
Speaker 2: being the younger sibling. Our dynamic is just strange for him to listen to me
Speaker 2: the trip is over. So is there really anything I can do or should I just say, I am never going to travel with him again and maybe not host him in my home in the future. Please help sincerely seriously frustrated sibling.
Speaker 1: Oh, seriously frustrated sibling. I understand this is a pretty serious etiquette problem and this is tough.
Speaker 1: It's not one where I think there's a very easy and apparent solution. It's not one of those places where we can
Speaker 1: turn to the rules of etiquette and say, oh boy, we really want to be sure we get these invitations out by this date. Um that there is a lot of managing relationships here. And I think that etiquette can really be your guide in doing that. And I would really really turn to core principles, consideration,
Speaker 1: thinking about all the different parties involved,
Speaker 1: respect, really honoring the worth and value of everyone. And that's both your brother as well as yourself as well as your husband as well as your in laws. And
Speaker 1: I would also,
Speaker 1: I think really honestly to myself about what it is that's important to me about these relationships and what it is that I would like to see improved and what's going to facilitate having the kinds of relationships in the future that I truly want to be having with people
Speaker 1: and that sibling relationship is so important. I'll mention something that someone told me once a long, long time ago and I think about it often they said, you know, your sibling is the person you're going to be probably the closest to for the longest time in your life
Speaker 1: that your parents are there from the beginning. But there's a good chance that there's going to be a period of your life where you're on your own, that your spouse, your significant other, your partner is someone who you might be incredibly close to, but
Speaker 1: you probably didn't meet them as soon as you met your sibling. That that sibling relationship is a really, really special
Speaker 1: close lifelong relationship.
Speaker 1: Now
Speaker 1: when I start thinking about
Speaker 1: you and your brother in this particular case, I think we also really have to think about your partner and your in laws and you being the person who's the bridge or the connection between your sibling and that group and
Speaker 1: the types of issues that you're describing aren't just a tire issues. When you're talking about the snoring on the couch, the
Speaker 1: attention to how you manage your bodily functions in public places. The question of whether your attire isn't fashionable but is is clean, It's hygienic and the smells that that then brings into the world for other people.
Speaker 1: I think those are things that a decent consideration for everybody's comfort, well being are
Speaker 1: important than take it outside of the strictly personal realm that oftentimes personal hygiene issues fall into.
Speaker 2: I would also say the personal realm that sibling communications can fall into. I know it was mentioned that no matter how this brother is addressed, he tends to storm off and say people are attacking him so much of that could sometimes just be because it's coming from someone within that immediate family. I know
Speaker 2: that I could listen to the exact same advice from sometimes from dan, but from a friend that I could not listen to from my sister that like it just wouldn't register. There's just too much history there. And I'm not saying to them, maybe ask your husband to be the one to help you with a conversation with your brother.
Speaker 2: But it doesn't surprise me to hear
Speaker 2: that the reaction from the brother when he is told that, you know, hey, like you should really put on a clean shirt or, and, and, and it could come out in so many ways, right? It could be an attack or it could be very gentle. It could be, um, using the type of language we often say to use on the show and it still might not land. Right?
Speaker 2: But I think recognizing that the, the history of family can often make it really hard for someone to hear. It could help to craft when and how you choose to address this.
Speaker 1: I think that's such an important point, lizzie post and
Speaker 1: those family dynamics are so strong
Speaker 1: and are often times let's call them almost inescapable, and
Speaker 1: I hadn't thought about it, but it might be a message that is better received coming from
Speaker 1: the husband in this situation or maybe the parents if they're available.
Speaker 1: I was thinking about the parallels between this and one of the most common questions we discuss in our business etiquette work, which is how do you talk to a coworker who's got a personal hygiene issue? That's become a topic of discussion in the workplace, something that other people are talking about. And
Speaker 1: the short version of that answer is that
Speaker 1: most people would want you to let them know if this kind of thing we're going on. And the first approach is often
Speaker 1: one that's a
Speaker 1: undertaken with care and consideration and thoughtfulness. But it's talking about it with the person and talking about it with them in the frame of
Speaker 1: it's important for you to know that other people are talking about this, that it's not a
Speaker 1: this is what you do and it's good or this is what you do. And it's bad. It's socially you would want to know that other people have noticed this about your personal hygiene and
Speaker 1: that gives the person who's being alerted an opportunity to decide how they're going to respond. But it gives them the information that they need to respond well, which is that it's not just the sister who's disappointed and thinks that the standards not being met, but that this is something where
Speaker 1: it's part of the social dynamic that they're operating in and it's important and worthwhile that they know it.
Speaker 1: And I think that's your first step of intervention. And then the second step is that you control the things you can then control because it's probably not going to be up to you to actually manage your brother's hygiene routines unless he asks you for that kind of help. And I'd be ready to offer it. I'd be ready to have very concrete specific clear suggestions as part of that conversation
Speaker 1: or at least be willing to talk about possible ways to address that are things that
Speaker 1: he might do or resources, he could turn to any of those things.
Speaker 1: Beyond that if you're not able to affect any change in that way, that you then take control of the things that you can take control of and that might be that to protect the very special relationship that siblings share.
Speaker 1: That you find venues for your relationship with your brother that don't involve layering in laws in on top of it that
Speaker 2: holidays and
Speaker 1: if the difficulty is you feeling responsible for his behavior because he's effectively your guest in those situations or that's that's just the way it ends up working,
Speaker 1: that it might be, that you can't take responsibility for him as a guest. But that doesn't mean that he's not your brother and that there couldn't be good opportunities for you to continue to have a good relationship with him that lets you
Speaker 1: have that relationship and not be constantly worried about
Speaker 1: how that's impacting people in your extended family.
Speaker 2: Seriously frustrated sibling. We can completely understand why the situation would be so frustrating and even disappointing. However, we do think that it is important to recognize that
Speaker 2: adults are adults and they will make decisions for themselves and that that can be something that empowers you to make decisions that are going to work for you. As dan had said
Speaker 2: in your relationship with your brother,
Speaker 2: we thank you for this question and we hope our answer helps
Speaker 1: A few minutes in the morning and evening
Speaker 1: and occasional checkups during the day
Speaker 1: are all you need to establish and keep up good grooming habits by following these simple rules of body care and grooming
Speaker 1: you too will achieve that quality of appearance.
Speaker 1: That feeling of well being
Speaker 1: so important to make your dreams of happiness come true.
Speaker 1: Mm hmm,
Speaker 1: mm hmm.
Speaker 1: Our next question is about a very informal engagement.
Speaker 1: Hi, awesome etiquette, Thank you for the wonderful podcast. I truly look forward to listening and learning Each week.
Speaker 1: I have a question about developments.
Speaker 1: My partner and I have been together for nine years. He's the one that introduced me to awesome etiquette back when we went to college together in
Speaker 2: Burlington
Speaker 1: and we have been discussing options for the future. We aren't interested in having a formal wedding ceremony as we would rather put that money towards some of our bigger goals.
Speaker 1: I'm also not interested in an engagement ring, both for monetary reasons and I just don't wear much jewelry.
Speaker 1: My question is this, is there a way that we could let our family and friends know? We are planning on getting married without an engagement period, ideally I'd also love to invite them to celebrate with us very informally, like going out to dinner or something similar.
Speaker 1: Would this be possible? How far in advance should we be sending out invitations? Thanks for your help, jess
Speaker 2: jess. Thanks so much for the question and congratulations on your engagement. Even though you don't have a total engagement period that you're going to be moving through.
Speaker 2: The very first thought that comes to mind is that once, once you've decided to get married, you can get married any time you want. There is no sort of need for an engagement period or requirement, from an etiquette standpoint that you have to have an engagement period? One of the first questions, I think that you're gonna want to answer for yourself is are you going to have guests in any capacity even if it's just a couple of witnesses or the family that you mentioned attending the ceremony and then going to the dinner with you or are you just gonna
Speaker 2: get married at you know, City hall or in your favorite spot with the justice of the peace or or a religious member of the clergy and then go and do a dinner, maybe even a different day where you're celebrating with your family. And I think that's going to get you to a place of then knowing what's going to be on your invitations,
Speaker 2: how long you need to send them out in advance, that sort of thing.
Speaker 2: Even for, because a casual wedding, that's this casual,
Speaker 2: I would still suggest if I do want to have a decent little group of people, even if that's just my immediate family and there
Speaker 2: families as well. That that would, that would be sort of enough of a thing that I would want to be giving people somewhere in that like month range of time to be able to attend this event. And given that this is probably an event that you're very most immediate family, if they're being included in the ceremony are going to want to attend,
Speaker 2: I might even push it to the like
Speaker 2: six weeks, two months just to really make sure that everybody knows what's going on and then how to get themselves there or arrange themselves and take care of themselves to be able to be there.
Speaker 2: But those are the first sort of places that my brain goes on. This one,
Speaker 1: I like the way you're getting specific lizzie post about the questions that you're asking yourself, so that you get the outcomes that you want.
Speaker 1: So how important is it that x, y or Z people are there and depending on the level of that importance, being sure that you give them enough time to be there.
Speaker 1: And I think that there's, as you say, no, no real etiquette, right or wrong. It really depends on what your goals and outcomes are. The other thought. I was thinking is that without
Speaker 1: things like a ring or an engagement period with a series of pre parties or maybe even a ceremony where people recognize and I do moment or a kiss or something
Speaker 1: that you want to be sure to let people know exactly what's going on so that they can understand it, that they aren't going to have the usual cues that this is a moment of great significance for you and maybe you want to keep a casual and low cost
Speaker 1: quality to the whole event in terms of what you're asking of your guests and of yourselves financially as well as socially,
Speaker 1: but it's still celebrating a wedding and you want to be sure that people understand that this is about you and a long term partner making a life commitment to each other. And
Speaker 1: if you want people to approach it with
Speaker 1: with more seriousness or with with more care, giving them more time and being really clear about about what it is that you're celebrating, I think is a really good idea. Now,
Speaker 1: all of this is coming from someone who's about to tell a very personal story. I was not there for it, but my parents eloped and didn't tell anybody that they were going to get married, went to see a justice of the peace on my mother's birthday and got married and then went around and they,
Speaker 1: we were aware that my father's father who had had a stroke when my father was young and was in a nursing home oftentimes got news last and wasn't always the first person to hear things in the family network. So they were sure to actually call him and tell him first, but then they went around to tell other people in person the
Speaker 2: traveling reception, Cindy called it
Speaker 1: love. The traveling reception remains sort of somewhat legendary in my small sort of nuclear family to this day.
Speaker 1: But part of it was that there were a series of hiccups along the way when they got to their, my mother's parents house, My grandfather was out haying on a tractor in the fields and they waited and they waited and they waited because he wanted to, they wanted to tell them at the same time. But I think that my mother's mother kind of figured it out because you know, there was this big news and they're waiting and
Speaker 2: waiting.
Speaker 2: Um,
Speaker 1: but you might run into hiccups along the way if you're not giving people any notice, you don't know how available they're going to be and just accepting that as one of the outcomes of a more spontaneous approach is that you've got to be more spontaneous in terms of your expectations for how people are responding or available to you.
Speaker 2: So going the other direction, if you do a version where people are going to be present for the ceremony and you want to invite them to a dinner afterwards and you're thinking about sending those invitations even like the six weeks to eight weeks ahead of time,
Speaker 2: which is a more more standard wedding tradition timeline invitation sending.
Speaker 2: I think one thing that you might want to prepare yourself for is that even with your desire to not have any kind of engagement period,
Speaker 2: you will have sort of inadvertently set up an engagement period and people might try to offer to throw you some of those traditional parties like, oh, would you like an engagement party? We could totally do like a little cocktails at my house or something like that, or how about a shower? We should do a bridal shower for you two weeks before your wedding. It will be just perfect. At least let us do something. You just, you just, you might wind up with some of this. And so it's worth,
Speaker 2: it's worth just thinking about how you might choose to react. If people do try to throw you some of those traditional engagement parties,
Speaker 2: you can accept them, you could not accept them if they sound right to you, that's great. If they don't sound right to you, it's fine, You could accept one, but not three others, you know, whatever ends up happening, just I would prepare myself for the fact that if I do include
Speaker 2: people in on the earlier side, that they might try and and fill in some of those traditional moments and that it is perfectly okay for you to turn them down and say,
Speaker 2: I really appreciate that sounds so lovely. We were actually hoping to not engage in a lot of the pre wedding parties and we're really looking forward to seeing you at the ceremony or if you're not doing the ceremony, we're really looking forward to seeing you at the dinner on the 11th or whatever day it is, something like that, but it's funny dan, it's a lot of traditional hosting skills that are all about to come into play, but I think we think of them as so much grander when they're attached to a wedding. Even if it's a casual, more spontaneous wedding,
Speaker 1: I'm doing my best not to over invest myself just when I hear wedding and I start to make the plan in my mind that I think would be a good plan. And I think that's a really natural place to go. Ultimately jess, we wish you the best as you decide how you're going to build a wedding day that
Speaker 1: makes you feel married, which is ultimately the best wedding advice advice I ever got was anna post, telling me do whatever makes you feel married and that's what I like to advise people to do and it sounds like you're well on the track to creating that kind of experience for yourself. Keep it up,
Speaker 1: think about what you want and be sure to share it with the people around you however you like
Speaker 1: and be sure to communicate that well.
Speaker 1: Right,
Speaker 2: thank you for your questions. We so appreciate you sending them in as we are preparing to pre record so many episodes, please send us your updates or feedback on our answers to awesome etiquette at Emily Post dot com. You can leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 kind. That's 8028585463. Or you can find us on social media on twitter. We're at Emily Post on instagram, we are at Emily Post Institute and on facebook were awesome etiquette. Just use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your social media posts so that we know you want your question on the
Speaker 1: show.
Speaker 1: If you enjoy awesome etiquette, please consider becoming a sustaining member. You can find out more about this by visiting us at patreon dot com slash awesome etiquette. You'll get an ads free version of the show and access to bonus questions and content plus you'll feel great knowing you helped to keep awesome etiquette on the air
Speaker 1: and to those of you who are already sustaining members. Thank you so much for your support.
Speaker 2: It's time for our feedback segment where we hear from you about the questions we answer in the topics we cover and today we are hearing feedback from a listener who submitted a question and has been intrigued by all the responses that have come in.
Speaker 2: This piece of feedback comes from another grateful, awesome etiquette listener
Speaker 1: Deer, Awesome etiquette team. Thank you so much for answering my question about inviting Children to a wedding back in September of last year. Episode 3 66.
Speaker 1: Over the last couple of months, I've been listening with interest to feedback from other listeners who have chimed in to provide their thoughts on weddings with or without Children. I wanted to offer one additional consideration that I haven't heard reflected in the listener feedback to date, which has to do with the additional budget implications of including Children as guests.
Speaker 1: Unfortunately, most wedding costs in my area, as with many parts of the country have doubled or tripled since early 2020.
Speaker 1: So many couples and families who are hosting weddings in 2022 are having to make very difficult decisions about guest lists and any number of things.
Speaker 1: There are a variety of factors that are driving wedding costs up from competition for venues due to rescheduled weddings from the last two years to international flour shortages to dramatically rising costs of food and beverages as caterers try to recover lost revenue.
Speaker 1: My fiance and I have many cousins and close friends with Children and we calculated that it would cost about $10,000 more on top of are already far overstretched budget if we were to include all of the Children of our already pared down list of adult guests.
Speaker 1: So this helped us make the decision to make our event an adult only one.
Speaker 1: I hope those listeners or anyone who might feel hurt by the exclusion of Children from wedding guest lists can appreciate the difficulties of wedding planning and budgeting in these difficult and extraordinary times.
Speaker 1: Again, thanks another grateful, awesome etiquette listener,
Speaker 2: another grateful, awesome etiquette listener. First thank you so much for submitting your question and secondly, thank you for submitting some feedback and follow up that gives us a little bit more perspective into your position and what led you to make the decisions that you made. I think you are so right that weddings are so complicated and
Speaker 2: adjusting for all of the complications that the pandemic has added into. It just makes for a lot of really difficult decision making and and their decisions that have to be made if you're gonna throw the wedding and I can just so here that in
Speaker 2: your feedback and also really appreciate you kind of pulling back the curtain for us to see a little bit more of your perspective
Speaker 2: dan. It's pieces of feedback like this that are such a great reminder, there are real people in real situations behind each and every one of these questions.
Speaker 1: And I will add my thanks for the feedback and for the original question. And for all those people who gave feedback to the original question so that we can now get feedback on the feedback.
Speaker 2: I love it.
Speaker 1: Thank
Speaker 2: you for sending us your thoughts and updates. Please do keep them coming. You can send your feedback or update two awesome etiquette, Emily post dot com or leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 kind. That's 802858
Speaker 1: 5463
Speaker 1: mm hmm.
Speaker 1: It's time for our post script segment where we dive deeper into a topic of etiquette and today we're going to talk about Emily in her prime, we have a wonderful description of a debutante ball and the overall experience of a social season that Emily would have experienced.
Speaker 1: This comes from Emily Post, daughter of the gilded age, mistress of American manners by Laura Claridge. The following passage can be found on page 71
Speaker 1: lizzie Post take us away,
Speaker 2: Laura Clarridge writes whatever the nomenclature. The result was a 4-6 hour long, heavily plotted production wherein only dancers who had seriously practiced the steps could hope to take part
Speaker 2: the successful execution of the dances themselves, let alone the exhibition of any real skill was impossible without long lessons,
Speaker 2: dances at the society balls were no small matter the stakes for the participants high, the ability to dance well was such a serious concern that almost three decades later. Emily Post would kindly but firmly advise any young woman with two left feet to stay at home
Speaker 2: and limit her socializing to afternoon teas. That way she would avoid being the rejected wallflower at the dance. In Emily's youth, the cotillions were always led by an important male society figure recycled throughout the season.
Speaker 2: The format for the intricate evening dances was boring, lee, consistent at ball after ball. Several of the events called for special costumes which need to be meticulously planned in advance.
Speaker 2: After the guests arrived, a grand march officially opened the ball with couples circling the ballroom in a slow procession.
Speaker 2: The guests then danced for a few hours all ages, joining in the days, popular steps, the quadrille, the Lancers, the waltz and the Scottish. Please forgive my pronunciation of that.
Speaker 2: The gentleman held the lady at a respectable distance and older guests and the official chaperones spent the evening talking and waiting for dinner to be served. The dancing paused while guests sat down to the evening repast.
Speaker 2: They expected the encounter an appropriately light meal if they were lucky, or if they were not a menu of Terrapin that's hard shelled freshwater turtles and canvas back duck in danger of being over hunted.
Speaker 2: In his earlier days of planning societies gallows. Ward mcallister had included a boiled sheep's head with hollandaise sauce, but it failed to elicit the response he desired. And so the menu reverted to type
Speaker 2: debutantes were taught to eat lightly on dance days if they planned to show off their trim waistlines.
Speaker 2: After everyone finished dining the men down there cordials and smoked their cigars while the ladies attended to their toilet.
Speaker 2: Then the heat cranked up the cotillion began in earnest. Several hours of choreographed dances cantilever ring seamlessly, one upon the other.
Speaker 2: Oh my goodness, tell
Speaker 1: me more. Tell me more. I want to know it all. Every detail. Every picture you can paint laura claridge, please keep going.
Speaker 2: Oh, I wish that's that's where the, where the passage stops for today, but it does paint such a picture of what Emily went through and while we don't apply the same advice, you know, we don't tell wallflowers to just stay home because it would be too much of an embarrassment if they actually made it to a dance floor.
Speaker 2: I mean that's just like not not the attitude we would take today
Speaker 2: and we certainly don't. I think in every single community participate in this type of dance. And as you heard in the passage, we were talking about balls, which could have been debutante balls, they also just could have been
Speaker 2: balls and there are also afternoon teas with dancing. And
Speaker 2: there are so many different things back then where the pure entertainment of the gathering was the dancing, it was such a big part of things and you can really hear that emphasis in in this particular passage where, you know, Emily's like telling people if you can't do it, don't even bother
Speaker 1: lizzie. You picked out one of the ways that I relate the most directly to this passage and obviously that's the central role that dance played in Emily's life and the life of young people and as sort of the defining element of the social season that it was about learning the
Speaker 1: hip dances, the current dances with the current steps. And I mean it's Tiktok really so different today, where the jam bands of my youth really so different that that, that um
Speaker 1: these expectations that you enter these social spaces and that you know, the steps and that you can play along and that you find connection to other people through it. I just love the centrality of dance and I long for a world
Speaker 1: where people were so practiced at doing it. That
Speaker 1: even today when we recreate the cotillion experience and we give people a chance to learn the dances and do it. There's part of me that just wonders what it would have been like to be there when there were 567, 10, 15 balls over the course of a season and everybody's really practicing. So that,
Speaker 1: so that there's a fluidity and an ability to do an exchange. Think of the difference between your first time at a contrary square dance and watching people that are really practice, you know how to do it just swinging each other around and the whole room was the living pattern and what that must have been like in a time when everyone was to the nines both with their attire, dress food but also the practice that they brought to those dances and
Speaker 1: I mean I wouldn't trade that for the world of modern and ballet. Contact improv that I got to grow up in today but it's, it's the connections that my mind draws and I just, I love hearing about it. Thank you for bringing that,
Speaker 2: my pleasure. I really appreciate getting to imagine what Emily's world was truly like in its passages like these that that bring it to mind. I myself am both longing for a world where partner dancing is just a bit more of a thing. I wish we lived in a culture where it was, it was a little bit more prevalent like it wouldn't be unheard of to have of clubs where you would go to where that's the thing we don't like. I mean there are of course in larger cities there's a lot of spaces like that. But I know in Vermont we don't quite have that quite as much and there are times when I long for it and there are also times where I'm really grateful
Speaker 2: that I am not living in an era where my tiny waist and I know that there are still a lot of pressures on women that way.
Speaker 2: But where my tiny waist needed to be such a focus that I wouldn't allow myself to eat while doing like hours upon hours of exertion. Like I think that that I'm grateful to have grown up when I did and at the same time I just, I love the chance to delve back into
Speaker 2: into history and think about what we did long before we had cellphones
Speaker 2: and when there were more limited forms of social entertainment, it's I I love, I love taking that look
Speaker 1: back. So thanks for doing it with me any time and I'm sure Laura Claridge has more in store for us all. The glamour and excitement of a new formal is shared first of all with the family.
Speaker 1: Just little things but they do make a big difference.
Speaker 1: The girl shows her thoughtfulness by being ready on time.
Speaker 1: The boy arrives on time so the girls dress doesn't go limp while she sits around waiting.
Speaker 1: He takes a few moments for small talk to give her parents a chance to size up the fellow whose taking their daughter out
Speaker 1: and naturally she shows up before he runs out of conversation.
Speaker 1: Dick, your flowers are just beautiful. They're perfect with my dress.
Speaker 2: Okay,
Speaker 2: We like to end our show on a high note. So we turn to you to hear about the good etiquette you're seeing and experiencing out in the world and that can come in so many forms and today we have a salute from Gonzalo.
Speaker 2: Hey lizzie and
Speaker 1: dan. My salute is to everyone that helps dealing with the current heat wave. Here in Argentina, we've been experiencing temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius, that's 104 F
Speaker 1: being quite dangerous to stay outside for long stretches of time or without water.
Speaker 1: Here is where the local heroes appear. I've seen and heard of people going out of their own houses to give bottles of water to road or park workers and police officers and even leaving bowls of fresh water out for street dogs.
Speaker 1: I wish to extend my salute to them because this is for me the highest level of consideration someone can achieve
Speaker 1: keep on working on this wonderful podcast. There it is.
Speaker 1: Gonzalo
Speaker 2: Gonzalo, thank you so much for the salute and truly thank you to all of your local heroes who are out there, making sure that both people and animals in the city in Argentina are hydrated and cared for during a heat wave. That is, it is certainly dangerous and that is some real consideration and care that you're seeing happening. That's wonderful.
Speaker 1: Thank you for sharing
Speaker 2: and thank you for
Speaker 1: listening and thank you to everyone who sent us something and everyone who supports us on Patreon,
Speaker 2: please connect with us and share this show anyway that you like to share podcasts with as many people as you possibly
Speaker 1: can. You can send us your next question feedback or salute by email to awesome etiquette. Emily Post dot com.
Speaker 1: You can leave us a message or text at 802858 kind. That's 8028585463 on twitter. We are at Emily Post on instagram. We are at Emily Post Institute and on facebook were awesome etiquette and the Emily Post Institute.
Speaker 2: Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the podcast by visiting us at patreon dot com slash awesome etiquette.
Speaker 2: You can also subscribe to the ads version of our show on Spotify or your favorite podcast app. And please please please consider leaving us a review if you like the show. It helps our show ranking which helps more people find awesome etiquette.
Speaker 1: Our show is edited by Kris Albertine. An assistant produced by Bridget. Thanks Chris and Bridget.
Speaker 1: Okay.
Speaker 1: Mhm
Speaker 1: mm hmm.
Speaker 1: Mhm
Speaker 1: mm hmm.